Plans to create a “people’s history” of one of Leeds’s most popular parks is to get underway after volunteers were given a share of £250,000 in lottery funding devoted to Yorkshire heritage projects.
Leeds-based organisation A Quiet Word will use a £9,800 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to train volunteers so they can interview older members of the community and gather their memories of Meanwood Park.
Three guided walks will also be organised for next spring, two looking at historic and industrial connections, and one concentrating on plants and animals. There are also plans to publish a book and accompanying CD.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is handing out more than a quarter of a million pounds in grands to allow people across Yorkshire to “unearth the fascinating and surprising range of undiscovered natural heritage in the county”.
Local people will be heavily involved with projects in Sheffield York and Ryedale which will create new habitats, improve facilities for wildlife watchers and “explore the untold stories behind a local park and gardens, reconnecting people of all ages with natural heritage on their doorstep”.
The Quiet Word team said: “‘Meanwood is a great community with a rich history - we have a fantastic Park and we don’t shout about it enough.
“We are really looking forward to digging into the archives, as well as digging in to the ground, quite literally - to share the stories about the Park and its place in the City of Leeds, the history of the plants and shrubs and how they came to be here, and the men and women who have lived and worked in the area.
“It’s wonderful to have the support from HLF so we can now start on this project we’ve been dreaming about for so long.’”
Meanwood Park covers 72 acres of woodlands, meadows and mown grass, adjacent to a further 90 acres of gardens, The Hollies, that includes national collections of several plants.
The area also has a strong industrial heritage where 19th century corn, flax and paper mills once stood, powered by a beck that still runs through the area.